Other Institutions

Indigenous Dispossession-Related Responses at Other Institutions

Compiled by Karishma Bottari, Kurt Jordan, and Jon Parmenter

Last updated July 15th, 2024

This page provides summaries and links to recent news stories, official reports, and administrative statements related to university responses to the Indigenous Dispossession issue.  If you know of additional items that should be added to this list, please send the information to cuid@cornell.edu

Colorado State University

Spring 2023: Patrese Atine (Diné/Navajo) was appointed as the inaugural Assistant Vice President for Indigenous and Native American Affairs. This move follows the Board of Governors of the CSU System decision to move stewardship of land-grant fund revenues to the University president and the new AVP; $500,000 will be allocated annually to support these efforts. (Source: Atine named to new Indigenous and Native American Affairs leadership position).

Fall 2022: The university sends out a statement acknowledging the theft of Indigenous land and CSU’s profits from their position as a land grant university. The institution committed to both acknowledgment and reparations, including a Board-approved policy to benefit Indigenous students using the current profits from land grant territories. This fund, estimated to be up to $500,000, will be allocated under the authority of the Associate Vice President for Indigenous Affairs and the CSU President. The Board intends to review this Policy and the programs funded by the Annual Revenue every three years. (Source: CSU Interim President’s Statement for Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Ohio State University

Summer 2022: A series of interviews with impacted Indigenous stakeholders were conducted by the university to facilitate a collaborative framework for restorative justice. Topics included a discussion of stakeholders’ general knowledge of the impact of the Morrill Act of 1862, an assessment of the modern impacts of the act, and potential avenues for Ohio State University to make amends. Ideas of reparations varied greatly, from scholarships to returning stolen lands. Most interviewed leaders agreed this process would require active, long-term engagement from both Indigenous stakeholders as well as Ohio State University. (Source: “Let Us Tell the Story of Our Land and Place”: Tribal Leaders on the Seizure and Sale of Territories Benefiting Land-Grant Universities)

See also: Stepping Out & Stepping Up: The Land-Grant Truth and Reconciliation Project (blog site)

Pennsylvania State University 

Spring 2023: A report presented by a faculty senate committee to the full senate strongly suggests that more must be done by Penn State to support Indigenous students, including hiring an Indigenous administrative liaison, creating some form of an Indigenous studies program, celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day event, and investing in greater levels of university-wide Indigenous acknowledgement and support. (Source: Penn State should account for land it took from Indigenous people, says faculty report)

South Dakota State University

For information on the institution’s longstanding Wokini Initiative, see their website.

University of California System 

Winter 2023: UC Berkeley seeks a Tribal Liaison/Director of Tribal Relations for the campus. The position will be housed jointly in the Office of Government and Community Relations and the Chancellor’s Office. (Source: University of California, Berkeley seeking Tribal Liason/ Director of Tribal Relations)

Spring 2022: The UC system announces the creation of the Native American opportunity plan, which waives tuition and student service fees for Indigenous students of any federally recognized tribe, but excludes Indigenous members of non-recognized tribes, belong to multiple tribes, are mixed race, or descended from disenrolled tribal members. Further discussion and a general overview of the history of the UC System’s role in Indigenous dispossession was provided by the alumni and donor-oriented California Magazine. 

Past policies include the formation of the UC Berkeley-affiliated Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues founded in 2010. (Source: University of California to waive tuition for Native students – but not for all

Winter 2022: UC Berkeley dedicates six new faculty positions to establish the university as an international center of excellence in Native American and Indigenous Studies. Building upon substantial existing campus assets—including an undergraduate major and graduate program in Native American Studies and strengths in Native American languages and literature, indigenous archaeology and cultural anthropology—the goal is to make UC Berkeley the pre-eminent institution of higher education in the field.

Fall 2022: On California Native American Day, Chico State University returns Butte Creek Ecological Reserve to the Mechoopda Native American tribe, involving a symbolic signing of papers recognizing the transfer of ownership. Further partnerships between Chico State and the Mechoopda tribe include prescribed fire training in collaboration with the tribe. (Source: In historic ceremony, Chico State gives ancestral land back to local Mechoopda tribe)

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Fall 2023: Supported by the National Science Foundation’s Science and Technology Centers Program, the university will headquarter the new Center for Braiding Indigenous Knowledges and Science (CBIKS). The center will examine how to effectively and ethically braid Western and Indigenous science research, education, and practice related to the urgent and interconnected challenges of climate change, cultural places, and food security. Research associated with CBIKS developed from Indigenous community priorities and conducted in full partnership with university and Indigenous community partners across the United States and internationally.  For more information, see the CBIKS website

University of Minnesota 

Developments at the University of Minnesota have been greatly influenced by the Towards Recognition and University-Tribal Healing—TRUTH—project. The TRUTH project is a Native-organized, Native-led, community-driven research movement that offers multiple recommendations on how the University of Minnesota community can be in better relation with Indigenous peoples. The project was formed formed in response to a 2020 resolution by the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council (MIAC) to examine University of Minnesota’s history as a land grab university and its modern ramifications. The project is run through the MIAC, an organization that represents the interests of all Indigenous Nations in Minnesota.  See the TRUTH Project website for more information.

Spring 2023: The TRUTH Project releases a 500-page report involving both an overview of current profits from stolen Indigenous land of up to $600 million, and recommendations to improve relations between the university and Minnesota-based tribal nations,  including perpetual reparations. The report also acknowledges the university’s role in Native genocide. (Source: Researchers reveal U’s painful past with Minnesota’s Indigenous people

Winter 2023: The university announces the intention to return the approximately 3,400 acres Cloquet Forestry Center to the original Indigenous stewards, though logistical concerns continue to complicate the return. (University of Minnesota says it will return forestry land to Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa

Spring 2022: The TRUTH Project hosts a symposium (video footage available here) that included lectures on UMN Indigenous history, current policies, and the effects of the TRUTH Project. The TRUTH report suggests forms of reparations, including: land back policies, financial reparations, increased representation, and free tuition for all Indigenous students. (Source: TRUTH Project Symposium

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Winter 2023: The university announces the Wisconsin Tribal Educational Promise program, which provides tuition, fees, housing, meals, books, and other educational expenses for Wisconsin residents who are enrolled members of federally recognized Wisconsin Indian Nations. Additionally, a 5-year pilot program will cover in-state tuition and fees for students pursuing a law or medical degree who are Wisconsin residents and enrolled members of federally recognized Wisconsin tribes. (Source: UW–Madison to cover full cost of undergraduate degree for students from Wisconsin Indian tribes)

Winter 2023: UW-Madison hires Carla Vigue, a member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, as their second Director of Tribal Relations. (Source: Carla Vigue named director of tribal relations for UW–Madison)

Winter 2021: University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents today unanimously approves a new tribal consultation system that seeks tribal collaboration on topics such as the recruitment, enrollment, and retention of American Indian students, research and other activity on land controlled by a tribe, and educational programs intended for tribal students or employees. (Source: Tribal Consultation Policy sets stage for collaboration between UW System and Wisconsin’s Tribal Nations

Brown University

Fall 2022: Researchers at Brown received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to fund the Stolen Relations project. This is a community-centered database project funded by Brown and NEH that seeks to illuminate and understand the role the enslavement of Indigenous peoples played in settler colonialism over time. The project seeks to document as many instances as possible of Indigenous enslavement in the Americas between 1492 and 1900 (and beyond, where relevant). Long overlooked by scholars and almost completely unknown to the wider public, the enslavement of Indigenous peoples was a persistent and destabilizing aspect of settler colonialism that tore apart communities and families and aided settler colonial expansion. (Source: The Stolen Relations website and Confronting Indigenous enslavement, one story at a time).

Dartmouth University 

Spring 2021: Dartmouth announces that their Native American studies program— founded in 1972— will become the Department of Native American and Indigenous Studies, to better represent the current functions of the academic unit. Under Dartmouth’s new rules, to be  considered a department, academic units must have a critical mass of full-time tenure-track faculty; represent a distinct disciplinary field; be self-governing; offer a defined curriculum, including a major; show demonstrated student interest; and share contiguous office space. (Source: What’s in a Name? Dartmouth’s Three Newest Departments

Harvard University

Fall 2023: The Harvard Native American Program and the Radcliffe Institute hosted a conference titled ““Responsibility and Repair: Legacies of Indigenous Enslavement, Indenture, and Colonization at Harvard and Beyond.” The event brought together Tribal leaders and community representatives, academics, and the Harvard community to begin a dialogue on how to understand the past, have tough dialogue about the present, and envision a new future together. For information on and videos from the event, see the conference website.

Princeton University 

Fall 2021: Princeton University is undertaking a search for faculty members at all academic ranks in any field in the Humanities and the Social Sciences, and across all geographic areas, as part of a major effort to advance Indigenous and Native North American Studies in teaching and research across the university. The search is expected to yield multiple positions, including at least one at the rank of tenured full professor. These positions will support the significant expansion of Indigenous and Native North American Studies on campus, broadening and deepening curricular offerings and research opportunities. Appointments may be made in a single department or across units. In addition to contributing to their own department and scholarly discipline, candidates should be prepared to work with students, faculty, and alumni to promote and sustain a vital, innovative, and intellectually expansive community for Indigenous and Native North American Studies and Indigenous-centered scholarship at Princeton. (Source: https://www.princeton.edu/acad-positions/position/21601)

University of Chicago

Summer 2023: The Department of Race, Diaspora, and Indigeneity invites applications for a cluster hire of Assistant/Associate/Full professors whose research and teaching focus is Indigenous Studies. They anticipate making multiple appointments to start on or after July 1, 2024.  Applicants with PhDs in Indigenous or Native Studies as well as those with appropriate training in other fields, are encouraged to apply. The university is eager to hire scholars who see the prospect of working in an interdisciplinary Department that engages Indigeneity in tandem with race and diaspora as exciting and productive for their research and scholarship. We hope to hire colleagues working both locally and globally, including at least one colleague in this cluster whose work connects with Indigenous communities in Chicago and the Midwest and others who work further afield, including the Americas, the Caribbean, Eurasia, Africa, Oceania, and the Pacific. Potential thematic focus areas include, but are by no means limited to, creative and critical approaches to Indigeneity; anti/de-colonization movements; the relationship between Blackness and Indigeneity; land, dispossession, and property; sovereignty and Indigenous political thought; science studies; art and visual culture; migration and Indigeneity; settler colonialism; environmental justice and injustice; Indigenous epistemologies and methodologies; penal legal systems; tribal law, federal Indian law, and Indigeneity in international law; gender, sexuality and Indigeneity; and global and/or comparative approaches. (Source: Vacancy announcement

Humber College

2024 – “As part of Humber’s continued commitment in advancing inclusion and belonging and to actively respond to the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Humber plans to introduce an Indigenous Tuition Grant program. It will offer a full-tuition waiver for Indigenous students from eight First Nations communities starting this fall including Alderville First Nation, Curve Lake First Nation, Hiawatha First Nation, Chippewas of Georgina Island, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, Mississaugas of the Scugog Island First Nation, Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte (Tyendinaga Mohawk) and Six Nations of the Grand River.”

Read full article.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology 

Spring 2022: Article provides an overview of current actions taken by M.I.T. to support Indigenous students, such as the creation of a tenure-track faculty position within Native American Studies, as well as two new MLK Visiting Professors and Scholars Program, with a minimum of one per year being allocated to Native American Studies. MIT will also fund research into the role the third MIT president, Francis Amasa Walker, played in endorsing the reservation system. MIT also plans to allocate funding equivalent to any Morrill Act profits to Indigenous activities on campus, as well as a one-time sum of $50,000. MIT also has drafted a working group involving MIT Chancellor Melissa Nobles and Institute Community and Equity Officer John Dozier to increase Indigenous engagement. (Source: An expanded commitment to Indigenous scholarship and community at MIT

McGill University

2024: “Beginning in the Fall of 2024, McGill University will cover tuition and mandatory fees for Indigenous students who are members of local/proximate First Nation communities as well as Indigenous students learning within programs delivered through Indigenous partnership agreements within the School of Social Work, the School of Continuing Studies and the Office of First Nations and Inuit Education. The aim of the initiative is to make the University more accessible and inclusive for Indigenous students, while at the same time expressing McGill’s desire to engage in relationship-building, partnership and collaboration with Indigenous nations and communities.”

Read Full Article

Oakland University

In 2022, Oakland University dedicated land on its campus, called Gidinawemaaganinaanig: Endazhigiyang (All My Relations: The Place Where We All Grow), for cultural place-making where Native and Indigenous lifeways and worldviews can be celebrated and shared. Soon after, the Native American Advisory Committee (NAAC) formed as a means of determining the best ways to live out the promises of its Land Acknowledgement.

See also: ‘The Place Where we All Grow‘ and the Native American Advisory Committee

State University of New York at Buffalo 

Fall 2023: The University announces the Ongwe’onwe/Indigenous Student Scholarship, which will provide in-state tuition rates to any student who is a certified/enrolled citizen in any U.S. federally recognized tribe or nation; those who are legally termed “status Indians” in Canada, and U.S. residents outside New York who have a parent or grandparent who is a citizen of an enrolled U.S. federally recognized NYS Six Nations/Haudenosaunee Nation. Some of this represents formalization of obligations required of U.S. universities due to the 1794 Jay Treaty, while most is a new commitment on the part of the University. (Source: New Indigenous student scholarship provides more than just funds; for policy requirements, see Ongwe’onwe/Indigenous Student Scholarship)

Fall 2021: The University at Buffalo invites applications across all academic ranks as part of a multi-year faculty hiring initiative in support of the university’s new Department of Indigenous Studies. This search includes multiple positions at the Associate or Full Professor rank and at the Assistant Professor rank as part of a multi-year faculty hiring initiative in Indigenous Studies, available due to a $3.2 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the creation of a new Department of Indigenous Studies with an innovative and interdisciplinary structure.

Syracuse University

For information on the University’s longstanding Haudenosaunee Promise Scholarship program, see this website.

University of Montana 

Winter 2022: The university hires Brad Hall of the Blackfeet Nation as Tribal Outreach Specialist. (Source: Tribal Outreach Specialist at UM creates important bridge for native students

University of Oregon 

Fall 2022: The university announces the “Home Flight Scholars Program,” made under the guidance of the Native American Advisory Council. This program seeks to create a new American Indian/Alaska Native Academic Advisor position as well as cover tuition and fees for undergraduates who are members of any federally-recognized tribe. (Source: The University of Oregon will cover tuition and fees for in-state Indigenous students from any federally recognized tribe

University of Toronto

Fall 2023: The University of Toronto will cover the full cost of tuition for students from the nine First Nations whose territories include or are adjacent to the university’s campuses. This move is part of efforts to make the university more accessible and inclusive for Indigenous students, and to strengthen relationships with Indigenous communities. In addition, Indigenous students from the continental United States will be charged the domestic Ontario tuition rate in recognition of the Jay Treaty of 1794. In May of 2022, the university began applying the in-province Ontario tuition rate to Indigenous students living elsewhere in Canada. (Source: U of T to cover tuition for students from nine First Nations communities)

University of Utah 

Summer 2022: An announcement that the University of Utah intends to provide full scholarships for any member of a Utah-based federally recognized tribe. (Source: There are about 120 Native students at the University of Utah. Soon, most of them will be able to attend for free)

University of Washington

Spring 2022: The university appointed Sherri Berdine (Aleut & CIRI Descendent) as Director of Tribal Relations. This new position was developed by the university in collaboration with tribal leadership. For more information, see the Office of Tribal Relations website.

University of Waterloo 

Spring 2023: The university states their intention to waive tuition for members of the Six Nations of the Grand River and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, whose traditional lands are located on the university’s Waterloo campus, starting in Fall 2023. The university also promises to provide local tuition rates for Indigenous students from other Canada- and America-based nations, and will continue to waive application fees for applicants who identify as First Nations, Métis and Inuit. (Source: University of Waterloo will waive tuition for students from 2 Ontario First Nations

College of William and Mary in Virginia

Fall 2022: W&M president pledges to give students eligible for Pell grants free tuition and fees at a minimum. While this supports the majority of students from families that make below $60,000 per year, local Indigenous communities advocate for free tuition for all Indigenous students, regardless of income. (Source:  At Chickahominy pow wow, William & Mary president pitches new tuition assistance